Need more time to prepare your federal tax return?
Please be aware that:
An extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes.
You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties.
You must file your extension request no later than the regular due date of your return.
E-file Your Extension Form for Free
Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension.
Filing this form gives you until Oct. 15 to file a return.
To get the extension, you must estimate your tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due.
Get an extension when you make a payment
You can also get an extension by paying all or part of your estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card. This way you won’t have to file a separate extension form and you will receive a confirmation number for your records.
Understanding Form 4868
Form 4868 gives you an automatic six-month extension to file your federal income tax return. The extension for 2019 federal income tax returns that are due on April 15, 2020, gives you until Oct. 15, 2020.
By obtaining the extension, you avoid any late-filing penalties as long as you do file by the extended due date.
Who Can File Form 4868?
Taxpayers who want more time for any reason to file federal income tax returns can use Form 4868. You can file the form when you need an extension for a variety of returns in the 1040 series including:
Form 1040: U.S. Individual Tax Return
Form 1040-SR: U.S. Tax Return for Seniors
Form 1040NR: U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return
Form 1040-NR-EZ: U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents
Form 1040-PR: Self-Employment Tax Return-Puerto Rico
Form 1040-SS: U.S. Self-Employment Tax Return
How to Qualify
By filing Form 4868, also called Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, you’re applying for six months’ extra time for filing your tax return. That means instead of being due April 15 as usual, your taxes would be due Oct. 15.
To qualify for this extension, you must:
Properly estimate your 2019 taxes
Enter your total tax liability on Form 4868
File the form with the IRS by April 15 (or your usual due date)
You don’t have to give the IRS a reason for filing late. Just fill out the form and file it; they’ll contact you only if it’s denied.
Although you can print out this form and mail it in, the fastest way to file the form is to do it online.
How to Request your Extension
You can complete your request for free using our online service.
You must e-file your extension if you prepare your extension using software that supports e-file.
If your paid preparer is required to e-file your tax return and is also preparing your extension request, the preparer must e-file your extension request.
The online and e-file options provide you with a confirmation that we received your extension request.
When to file
You must file your extension request on or before the filing deadline of your return.
2019 Filing Deadline for Calendar Year Filers
Length of Extension
Extended Due Date
Form IT-201, IT-203, or IT-203-GR
April 15, 2020
October 15, 2020
March 16, 2020,*
September 15, 2020
April 15, 2020
5 1/2 months
September 30, 2020
*Calendar year partnership filers can no longer request a 2019 extension since the filing deadline has passed.
There are special filing deadlines in certain instances. An extension request filed after the filing deadline for your return will be invalid.
The Bottom Line
If you can’t file your federal income tax return on time, simply ask for a filing extension. If you don’t, you’ll face a late filing penalty. So, simply fill out an IRS extension form before the filing deadline.